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Car insurance protects your car from many forms of damage. Unfortunately, breakdowns aren’t covered by default. To cover the towing of your car when you weren’t involved in an accident, you’d need roadside assistance in your policy.

After a crash, the insurance of the at-fault driver usually covers towing expenses. But, for the specifics on when and how car insurance covers towing in all scenarios, keep reading.

When Does Car Insurance Cover Towing?
Car insurance can cover towing, although you usually need to ask for it to be included in your full coverage plan. It isn’t always included by default, and it isn’t covered by liability-only plans. If not included in your standard full coverage, you may be able to get car insurance to cover towing with a roadside assistance add-on to your policy.

Almost every state in the country requires a certain amount of car insurance. The type of coverage that’s mandated is liability coverage, and it doesn’t protect the value of your vehicle at all. Liability coverage covers the damage you may cause someone else in an accident so you don’t have to pay out-of-pocket for property damage and medical expenses you cause to someone.

If you have liability insurance only, your plan won’t include towing coverage for yourself, although it will cover towing for someone you crash into if you caused the accident.

In addition to liability coverage, most people opt for some sort of full coverage for their car, too. Full coverage often consists of comprehensive and collision coverage, which both can reimburse you for the damage of your vehicle if it’s damaged by a crash, severe weather, theft, or vandalism.

Depending on your carrier, some comprehensive or full coverage plans may cover towing in some cases. More commonly, though, providers offer roadside assistance as an optional add-on to comprehensive car insurance policies. Roadside assistance often includes some sort of coverage for towing.

What Is Roadside Assistance?
Roadside assistance is a very common add-on offered by car insurance companies. It can come to your aid when you have unexpected car troubles or experience a mechanical or electrical breakdown. The cost to add it to your policy varies by company, but it’s usually relatively cheap – roadside assistance can cost around $20 to $25 per year.

What’s exactly included in roadside assistance coverage also varies by provider. But, generally, it can help you out if you suffer a dead battery or flat tire. It can also help you out if you run out of gas, or if you lock yourself out of your car. And roadside assistance in car insurance can cover the cost to tow your vehicle to a nearby repair shop.

How Does Car Insurance Cover Towing Costs?
When car insurance does cover towing, usually through roadside assistance, it typically happens one of two ways. Either you contact your insurer, and they organize a tow and a ride to the nearest repair shop, or you call the tow company of your choice, pay upfront, and your carrier will reimburse you down the line.

Know that reimbursement options may have a set dollar limit, such as $50, for example. Your insurer would pay up to that limit for towing, and then the rest is on you. Roadside assistance may also cover towing an electric vehicle to the nearest charging station, but you might want to double-check with your provider if you’re concerned about this.

Travelers, for instance, offers two roadside assistance options. Their standard option provides towing service up to 15 miles. They’ll also help you with a dead battery, a lockout, or a fuel delivery. Premier Roadside Assistance offers towing service coverage up to 100 miles.

Progressive also covers vehicle towing costs to anywhere within a 15-mile radius of where you broke down as part of their roadside assistance. If there isn’t a repair shop within 15 miles, they tow to the closest one. If you want another repair shop that isn’t within the covered limit, they’ll tow you there, but you must cover the extra miles yourself.

Infinity Auto, another popular car insurer, also offers towing to a nearby repair shop as part of their roadside assistance. They cover it as reimbursement payment – you pay upfront, and they’ll cover the cost later.